Compact SUVs (often referred to as "crossover" SUVs) are extremely popular right now. For drivers who want a lot of the features that are associated with SUVs, but in a smaller vehicle, a compact SUV is a good option.

Because this segment is doing so well, tested several compact SUVs in order to come up with what they believe are the five best models for 2016. Each of these five vehicles can be purchased new in most areas for $30,000 or less, which is fairly affordable. However, if you want to save money, it shouldn't be hard to find a recent-model used compact SUV.

Five Compact SUVs to Consider Buying

In a crowded segment, these compact SUVs are considered by (and others) to be the best options to take a look at. Each of these five vehicles has tested well on the road and includes plenty of useful features.

Hyundai Tucson

The Hyundai Tucson: Coming in at number five on the list, but taking the number two position in U.S. News and World Report's rankings, the Tucson has been given "exceptional" safety scores. Reviewers also liked its automatic liftgate, ample storage space, "balanced" handling and the fact that the Tucson comes with a long list of standard and available features.

Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4: The RAV4 is number four on the list, but falls way down to the twelve position in U.S. News and World Reports rankings. Again, the Compact SUV class is a very crowded segment, but the RAV4 seems to hold its own with its abundant cargo space, supportive front seats and above-average predicted reliability rating. It also features a "high-quality" interior.

Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V: Taking the number one spot on U.S. News and World Report's rankings, the CR-V comes in at number three with This is still pretty impressive, and reflective of the CR-V's great EPA-estimated fuel efficiency, above-average predicted reliability, powerful engine and "inventive" features. About the CR-V, critics have noted that "You get a lot for your money."

Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage: and U.S. News and World Report are almost in agreement on the Sportage, placing it second and third, respectively. And one critic cleverly summed up its appeal with, "The Sportage is the Goldilocks of this SUV class, with its just-right blend of comfort, style and power." It also comes with a very long powertrain warranty, tons of features and comfortable seating.

Ford Escape

The Ford Escape: While only earning a number three position with U.S. News and World Report, ranks the Escape as the number one compact SUV of 2016. Test drivers have praised the Escape's easy-to-use Sync 3 infotainment system, nimble handling, and quiet ride. It has also been noted that the Escape comes with "lots of cool, user-friendly tech features."

If you are looking to buy a compact SUV, but would like to save some cash by purchasing used, Autotrader has some good suggestions. According to their website, for $15,000 or less, you should be able to pick up one of the following used compact SUVs:

  • 2012 Chevrolet Equinox
  • 2011 Honda CR-V
  • 2011 Toyota RAV4
  • 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan

Or, simply do a quick online search to find out what kinds of used compact SUVs are available in your area.

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